Friday, May 14, 2021

Nakba and Shoah

History is like a crockpot. Issues simmer over generations. In the Bosnian civil war, events that happened hundreds of years before were the historical baggage that became unpacked at a time of crisis. Trump’s nefarious base didn’t appear out of nowhere as Angus Deaton and Anne Case point out in Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism. They’re the product disenfranchisement due to technology and automation. In an op-ed piece, "Palestinian Refugees Deserve to Return Home. Jews Should Understand,"NYT (5/12/21), Peter Beinart addresses the “the Nakba,” in Arabic “the catastrophe,” in which 700,000 Palestinians were deracinated to found the State of Israel (with subsequent expulsions to follow). It’s interesting that Shoah also refers to “catastrophe,” in that case the killing of six million Jews. “Among Palestinians, Nakba is a household word,” Beinart remarks, “But for Jews — even many liberal Jews in Israel, America and around the world — the Nakba is hard to discuss because it is inextricably bound up with Israel’s creation.” He goes on to point out the irony of Jews resisting the notion of repatriation since “no people in human history have clung as stubbornly to the dream of return as have Jews.” Later in the piece Beinart says, “Perhaps American Jewish leaders fear that facing the crimes committed at Israel’s birth will leave Jews vulnerable.” At the end of his essay Beinart brilliantly points out that the Hebrew for "repentance," "teshuvah" literally means "return." It's hard to conceive of a truth and reconciliation commission as the fighting continues, but Beinart quotes the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish in asserting the possibility of empathy between opposing sides. “The occupier and myself— both of us suffer from exile. He is an exile in me and I am the victim of his exile.” In identifying with the shared meanings of Nakba and Shoah, therein lies the hope.

Quote of the Day: "If you didn't know that TV footage was a video from January the sixth, you would actually think it was a normal tour or visit."--Andrew Clyde, R, Ga.




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